Skubick: Protesters focus on Straits pipeline

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MACKINAC ISLAND, MI (WLNS) – Protestor’s disrupted Governor Rick Snyder’s welcoming speech at the Mackinac Business Conference Wednesday.

They want him to shut down a pipeline that runs under the straits of Mackinac. 6 News Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick is on this story from the island.

The aging pipeline owned by the Enbridge Company does not run under the Big Mac bridge but it is nearby as 24 million gallons of crude oil flow through that line.

Environmentalists want the company to shut the line down so that a safety study can be conducted, so that a safety study can be conducted. The protestors are especially concerned Enbridge was the company responsible for a massive and expensive oil spill into the Kalamazoo River.

As for the pipeline under the strait, “I’m concerned that it’s not safe today. I have no reason to believe this pipeline is no safer than the one that ruptured in the Kalamazoo River.”

Reporter: “So do you want the company to shut the line down?”

“I would love to see the company shut the pipeline down”

Protestors fear that the 60 year old pipeline may be corroded and even the timeout of leaks may be a problematic.

“The pipeline could fail catastrophically and unexpectedly.”

Reporter: “But you have no proof that’s going to happen?”

“We really don’t have any proof, but I don’t think Enbridge has any proof that it won’t happen either.”

Meanwhile protestors were escorted from the Grand Hotel after they interrupted the Governor’s speech, they want him to do something about Pipeline Five.

Reporter: “Was it appropriate to interrupt the governor?”

“I believe it was appropriate because yesterday we had groups that came to Mackinac City and they organized a meeting to share knowledge and information about line five and so being able to come today to be able to let him know we do want line five removed.”

Dan Wyatt is the Governor’s Environmental Point Person. He reports that Enbridge has made some improvements to the line, but the central questions remains is the line safe?

“Yeah the pipeline is currently safe, but going forward, 61 years of operation, we think there probably is more that has to be done to assure that safety,” said Dan Wyant, governor’s environment director.

Reporter: “How do you know it is safe?”

“We don’t. The reality is that’s why we have a task force, that’s why we’re looking at it, that’s why our recommendations will come out in a month, probably asking for more than is being done today.”

Mr. Wyatt says a report on what should be done if anything will be out by the end of June.

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